I’m a Corinthian figure-aholic. There, I said it. And I’m not ashamed to let you all know about it. I’m Paddy, and here’s my story about why I love football figures and why I still collect them to this day.
My tale starts in Woolworths, as all good stories do. It was soon to be my birthday and I was being made a cake that resembled a football pitch. What do all good football pitch cakes need? Football figures, obviously. I’d walked through Woolworths a few times and noticed these football figures with large heads but never really had an excuse to purchase them. I mean, buying these would take money away from Merlin’s Premier League football stickers, right? But here was my chance to change that.
I was given money to buy two players - a striker and a goalkeeper. I simply had to choose Alan Shearer but wasn’t too sure on the goalkeeper - that was until I saw Neville Southall, decision made! After my birthday passed they sat pride of place on the TV in the lounge. And then it started. I had the Corinthian figure bug. I very quickly outgrew the top of the TV and had to move to on top of a chest of drawers and it slowly moved onto every surface I was allowed to use in the house, including a specially made display case!
Even as a child, I worried about the ‘condition’ of my figures. This meant I had to stop ripping open the packaging and actually playing with them - I started to keep them all in pristine condition in their blister packs. Worried I wasn’t enjoying them enough - my dad even attached string around my bedroom so the blisters could be hung and displayed in all their glory.
We used to go on a lot of day trips when I was a child - which was brilliant as it meant we could go in every single shop possible that might stock Corinthian figures. One of my favourite shops to go on was FootLocker of all places, but they always had a great stock of early ProStars to choose from. I remember once going in and spotting a David Beckham Away Series 5 Platinum for sale, asked if they had any more and they found another two in the stock room! That was a very, very good day.
The greatest thing about collecting Corinthian figures? Easy, the conventions at Villa Park. Without a doubt the best day of the year for any football figure collector out there. Does life get any better than rummaging around in a bargain bin to find that Mark Pembridge figure you’ve always been looking for? I doubt it. Surrounded by literally thousands of figures - I was in absolute heaven. Take me back any day of the week!
By the early 2000s I was collecting literally everything Corinthian had released. XL Figures, ProStars, MicroStars, Keyrings... even the air fresheners! And it wasn’t just Corinthian figures either. I had a growing collecting of Tonka figures and basically anything football related from the 90s-00s. Pogs, Marbles, Sticker albums, World Cup coins. You name it… I had it. These were all great, but you can’t re-enact your favourite childhood goal with a football sticker, can you?
In my opinion, MicroStars were a great addition to the Corinthian brand - It meant not only did you get a football figure, it came inside chocolate! Headliners sometimes had a tendency to fall over if the figure wasn’t quite molded correctly but Microstars didn’t have that problem due to their size. One of my favourite pieces in my collection is the Microstars legend box - one I can highly recommend that you check out if you don’t already own it.
My Headliner/ProStar favourites? Now that’s a difficult one. My favourite range has to be the Ballon d'Or range - the figures are molded beautifully but sadly the range was stopped early due to legal worries. My favourite figure? Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi sporting the fantastic France ‘98 flame goalkeeper shirt. It’s an absolute beauty of a figure. But that said, the Carlos Valderrama figure is a close second!
My collection grew and grew right until Corinthian Prostar figures were no more in the late 2000s. Although Microstars continued for a couple of years later - it was the end of an era for thousands of football figures around the World. SoccerStarz came a couple of years later, and although I have a small collection of these the quality simply doesn’t feel the same compared to ProStars or MicroStars which is a shame.
Up until around four years ago my figures were sat in my parents loft - lost and gathering dust, just waiting for someone to re-discover the Corinthian magic. That was until I was told to shift them... and moving thousands of figures from one loft to another is something I wouldn’t rush to do again!
As I was moving them it all came flooding back to me, so I did what any football figure mad person would do and started buying some more. I mean you can never have too many football figures... right? That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.
Fast forward to early 2019 and I was talking to my father-in-law about my collection and how it was a shame most were still in my loft. We ended that conversation with my front door moved to create an extra room, my office moved downstairs into that very room and one wall fully dedicated to shelving for my figure collection. A dream right? Well two months later it was a reality, and my wife converted my old office space into a walk-in wardrobe so everyone was a winner!
That same year I started to sell some of my duplicates on Twitter and had no idea how big the community still was, and it was great to share my collection with so many people. I started to fill some of my figure gaps but the Corinthian community really exploded when the first lockdown happened in the UK. With people getting their collections down from the lofts or out of their garages, everyone seemed to decide like me that what they needed was more, not less!
I’m now 10 headliners and just under 200 ProStars away from owning every single released headliner/ProStar figure made by Corinthian, I’m getting there… slowly but surely.
So there you have it - a little bit about my collection. If anyone wants to write a blog post on their football related collection - Please get in touch. And of course, if you’re reading this and have anything Corinthian related for sale feel free to send me a message. As I’ve said - I can absolutely always have more!